Every new major release of OS X is a day or week spent disabling things, shutting down Spotlight again, trying to restore things back to the way they were instead of the way some Designer with a capital D thinks they should be, for no other reason than, "Beauty."
I just dread the idea of moving to Linux again. I don't want to tinker that much. But I am worried sick that OS X is dying, in the sense that it's becoming a platform to deliver people to Apple's (and partners') cloud services and sharing services and that's it. Screw all of that.
One major shot across the bow was the loss of "Save As..." and the change to "Duplicate". WTF, Apple? I now have to do 10 extra steps just to Save As.
It feels like Apple is abandoning its longtime users, the master users, the users who've climbed the pyramid, who've achieved a lot of game levels. It's just going after that huge base of newbies and midlevel people who don't notice or complain about all the changes that really, truly are not improvements. They're just changes. That's the problem in a nutshell: OS X changes because there's new management that wants to put its stamp on things, regardless of whether it improves the productivity of the user or not.
Once the developers move, the users pretty much have to. I have an iMac from 2009. I had two OS's on it. Windows 7? Everything still works there. Runs fast, new software is great, etc. OSX 10.6.8? DEAD. It's basically useless. I guess it's nice that apple offers free upgrades, except that they mysteriously make a system that used to be lightning fast extremely slow, even though other OS's seem to run just fine..
It works perfectly. I have zero complaints or issues. It's no problem at all.
I use chrome and terminal for most of my work, but I do run itunes and vmware fusion and run some apps that give me a tiled interface and focus-follows-mouse.
No problems at all. I couldn't be happier.
I am sure it would all go to hell if I got a current model and tried to run SL on it ...
It's slightly worse (I don't like mission control, messages is useless to me) but not as bad as Lion (i.e. you'll just need to disable the stupid scroll behaviour, but performance is good).
On the plus side, you get the option to use new software developed for "10.7+" (heroku's db client, atom editor, swift etc)
I resisted updating 10.4 for years; IMO that was the high water mark for OS X, everything has basically been downhill from there. If I could still run 10.4 plus bugfixes and security updates, with modern software, I would.
But that's not possible. They push out new versions of the OS, along with new versions of development tools, which produce software that's not backwards-compatible past a certain point, such that eventually you can't run new software without installing major (0.1) updates. Apple's own products are the worst for this, but eventually you lose 3rd party apps as well.
Even if you resist the demands of new software, you'll eventually get forced to upgrade via hardware. Each generation of Apple hardware has a minimum OS version, keeping you from going back too far. For instance, Mac Pro "quad core" and 8-core systems won't run OS 10.4; Nehalem-based machines won't run 10.6. And Apple has purposely killed off its compatibility layers, dropping first the Classic environment and more recently Rosetta, in order to introduce barriers to running old software.
It's pretty frustrating as a user.
But as for "why update" - up until 10.6, there were performance improvements as well as useful features (subjective -I know- fine).
As for "why update nowadays" - well, 10.6 isn't really supported nowadays. (cough Java 7 cough)
Apple stopped maintaining Java at version 6.
My best guess is that programmers build with the latest libraries, and the latest libraries require the latest OS version. If the dev is running on the latest version, it never crosses his mind to do otherwise.
But there were just too many pieces of software that wouldn't run, and unpatched security holes didn't seem like a good idea either.
To add insult to injury, Apple doesn't allow you to virtualize non-server versions of 10.6. You can, thankfully, hack VMWare Workstation and keep running your previous machine's image that way, but it's shitty that you have to jump through those hoops. It seems geared specifically towards keeping people from continuing to use their old apps.
New and/or updated frameworks/APIs  make the developer's job easier. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of them?
EDIT: Windows 7 was released in 2009 and is still receiving security updates. 10.6 was released in 2011 and has been EOL'd. Seeing as both people still want to use these products, but one group is being forced not to, that's why I'm saying OS X is taking a less sane stance than Windows.
Is this false?
Multi-monitor full-screen was broken from 10.7 through 10.8. Thousands complained, Apple claimed it a feature.
Not fixable, not tweakable, not reversible. 10.6 or one full-screen monitor at a time.
Fuck off, Apple.
Full screen in 10.7 and 10.8 did render secondary displays useless. But it was a new feature in 10.7, so there was nothing to reverse. You can't take Safari, Mail, etc. full screen in 10.6.
Perhaps there was an app you used that switched from a custom full screen implementation to the system one, and so regressed on secondary displays?
The thing to reverse would have been the "switch to new workspace when full-screening" - or at the very least make it optional. Certainly not respond "that's a feature" and close as "working as expected" when thousands complain.
I failed to see the value in that feature even with a single screen. An action that used to happen instantaneously now took 1-2s. and a dizzying sliding animation. (Many a flow was lost to toggling full-screen by accident - whereas previously you could toggle/toggle back immediately without losing your mental state - surely you appreciate that as a developer?).
Full screen was an effort to make OS X more usable on small displays - recall that the 11" MacBook Air had just shipped. It didn't make much sense for media playback apps to adopt the system full screen mode, especially as it was in 10.7-8.
I would have loved to enable a system mode where full screen windows could coexist in the same workspace as unrelated windows, but this would have been a new feature, not something we could have achieved by reversing anything. And eventually Apple did enable a new mode, which was what shipped in 10.9.
Oh, and if you filed a bug, then whoever closed it as "working as expected" made a mistake. There was a (heavily duped) bug tracking the uselessness of secondary displays in FS, and it was closed when 10.9 shipped. I may even have been the one to close it, I don't remember.
This doesn't make much sense, does it? Obviously apps adopt the system implementation. The problem the OP is talking about is that the system implementation became pretty weird, broke some apps that used to work just fine (especially lots of xquartz ones), and thought that the best use for your extra monitors was to just display a dark gray pattern.
Personally, I learned to live with it (sigh, uncheck "displays have separate spaces"), but it does seem like a good example of Apple shoving a half-baked idea out the door.
I can't specifically recall, but I think the same was true of full screening video content from Safari (perhaps technically a "plugin feature", but maybe html5 video was around?), but QuickTime was 100% an apple regression.
Log off, user.
So I did the latter :)
It worked exactly the same as before only Apple added full screen mode which didnt work in an ideal way. But guess what you don't have to use it. Just maximise your windows normally or use one of the many free tools to do it via keystrokes.
But yeh fuck Apple for offering free OS upgrades that are completely optional.
The updates are free.
> Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013.
Seeing as OS X service packs also come out very frequently, whereas Windows are very rare, I'm not sure the two are comparable.
I should probably bow out now. I just thought it was interesting.
Wikipedia says 10.6 was released August 28, 2009.
But the Yosemite upgrade on laptop brought back my memories of initial Ubuntu distributions. I had disable few setting to get some performance. I had to change few UI setting to get a decent look. It looks a transition phase OS.But ubuntu on that m/c had few touch pad issues otherwise it would have been the default OS for me on the laptop.
It is...until it isn't. Nine out of ten Ubuntu or Mint installs will go off without a hitch, with no weird issues or regressions, and a warm, friendly, comfortable development environment welcomes you. Then there's that one time you install it on your laptop so you have a to-go environment that matches your workstation, and BOOM! your wifi isn't recognized (what year is it again??) or your sound card sputters (damn you PulseAudio!), or your hybrid graphics screws the pooch. Hell, I built this workstation I'm typing on with GNU/Linux and BSD compatibility first in my mind, and I still had issues with some hardware right off the bat. Nothing that can't be fixed with some fiddling, but it's annoying as hell.
Yes, all of the above issues can be fixed, just like the issues you dealt with in OS X. It's a computer, after all; Garbage In (Apple/Linux/BSD developers), Garbage Out. And don't get me started on Windows 8.x; it's finally becoming usable daily, but there are a million reasons I chose to stick with 7 for Windows-specific work, and wait it out until 10 ships.
Apple broke the cardinal rule: If it isn't broken, stop fixing it! They want to innovate and improve and conquer the world, fine; but they need to remember that they had the best OS X release with Snow Leopard (and in my personal opinion, that was the best desktop OS period). In their rush to wow the masses, they broke their OS for those of us who use it to be productive and creative.
At this stage, I feel that a good old fashioned, stable OS like FreeBSD or Slackware Linux or Debian is the best choice for a solid 'nix workstation, something you can get real work done on. But ever since Lion was released, I would rather use Windows Vista on a Core Solo machine than OS X on any Mac.
> Nine out of ten Ubuntu or Mint installs will go off without a hitch
Even when the installs go off without a hitch, there are always lingering pain in the ass problems and they're all related to buggy drivers, bad UI tools and dependency hell. Every time I think about making my own distro, I come back to those three big problems and think: the last two are fixable. The drivers... not so much.
My Macbook pro Ubuntu installation went without any problems. Touch pad mouse clicks weren't as exact as OS X. I am used to it hence was not able to use Ubuntu. Maybe i should tinker a bit.
And on a completely different note, I have a Dell Latitude laptop from around 2000 or so, a Pentium III machine, that has no built in networking unless you count the dial-up modem. I picked up a random CardBus wifi card for $5, and OpenBSD recognized and configured it flawlessly.
It really all comes down to whether the OS developers have access to the hardware the rest of us use. If, for example, your wifi doesn't work, it's not likely to until enough bug reports are submitted that the kernel hackers responsible for wifi drivers get their hands on the hardware and write or improve a driver. It's the same for those trackpad issues you had; someone somewhere has to debug that.
This is why it's a good idea to research your hardware if you intend to run anything other than Windows or OS X. And even with research, it's rarely 100% working out of the box. That's the tradeoff for having what (in my opinion) is a very productive and comfortable working environment.
Huh? And I am not saying that they don't have problems.
My point being, even a kludgy setup like that was more tolerable than OS X 10.7 and up (again, hyperbole, but close enough to the truth in my case).
If you want more specific than that, you'll have to find someone who has spent more time than I have on those OS releases. I've tried each one and have yet to see anything better than Snow Leopard; if you don't like that answer, too bad. I'm done.
I've been on archlinux, on testing, for christ sake, and it's been at least a year since I had an issue of any kind.
Debian was also fine by me, but the software was too old on stable; I did have installation issues with it, however, on other peoples laptops.
Either way, it was an easy fix for Slackware and the other half dozen distros I've tried on this machine, and I've found generally that Slackware is the best fit for someone who doesn't mind getting their hands dirty occasionally, in exchange for stability and lack of dependency issues.
So then I tried Ubuntu, thinking that would be the "easy" distro. It installed alright, but the nVidia card was still giving me trouble and the official Ubuntu nVidia packages weren't new enough (it's a GTX 860M). So I added a PPA with a newer version of the driver and that seemed to get it working at least, but I still had massive screen tearing issues, and for some reason the nVidia settings app had far fewer settings than the Windows version I have on the other partition, and it didn't even have an option to enable vsync, which should resolve the tearing. After trawling through mountains of nVidia documentation and forum posts, including, no joke, the EBNF for their config file, I still can't get the damn thing to work.
I'd like to have a real shell and be able to play games without rebooting, but the polish on desktop Linux still isn't quite there yet. And yes, I know this particular problem isn't the fault of Linux or any of the other software in Ubuntu, but it's a problem with the ecosystem and it's one that's preventing me from using Linux as much as I'd like to right now.
Big, wrong ideas are destructive, and the two biggest, wrongest ones right now seem to be: "desktops are just out-of-date tablets", and "the only good affordance is a dead affordance".
Affordances are what make computers humane, and there's a world of difference between how phones are used (mostly social), tablets are used (mostly media consumption), and how desktops are used (mostly productivity).
The visionaries in charge of all three of Windows/OSX/Linux are of similar mind about the "big ideas", and it's caused a lot of grief for productive people.
You might want to look at KDE and XFCE though - both are sticking more to traditional Linux desktop ideas than Gnome and Unity.
And agreed on your second point, using XFCE right now.
I'm with you on moving back to Linux, having sufficient experience with both I'm loathe to move back for both hardware and software envrionment frustrations. I do have hope that things will get better on that side of the fence, but OSX would have to become pretty terrible for me to do that anytime soon (though they seem to really be pushing their luck lately).
I have a new OS X MBP. 16 GB RAM, NVIDIA Something (650?), SSD, Yosemite, i7. I have an older i7 Sager, 16 GB RAM, Nvidia 550m, HDD.
The Sager for years has been a terrible computer due to the WIFI support. It was crappy in Windows and worse in Linux. I actually looked forward to getting the MBP. Recently, however, I found a guy's opensource driver for the RealTek WIFI. This is more stable than the actual official driver. His blog post was great about how to install it. Now I've got two computer to compare.
OSX is apparently terrible at memory management. Running Eclipse and like 10 tabs in FF can cause the system to swap. On the SSD I loath the very concept. Some of my comments on HN about Light Table stem from the fact that LT uses .5 GB of memory when everything is said and done (node helpers, etc). LT on OS X ran great, but OS X would swap. Running multiple VirtualBox instances made it worse. I tend to run about 260-350 MB of swap if not more for a few small programs.
Cut to Ubuntu. Once I got use to Unity I liked Ubuntu. The OS is smooth, use-able and well-supported both at a community level and from a system update perspective. I can run a 2 GB Arango VM, and 3 Hadoop VMs at once all nicely networked to each other via host-only. FF with the same 10-ish tabs running with lein REPL and Counterclockwise (Eclipse IDE for Clojure) and still only use 76 KB of swap.
Now aside from following a few steps about getting the WIFI to work, I've not really done much Ubuntu customization. I haven't had to. I installed it, it worked, I worked.
OS X had some nice ideas, but, IMHO, Linux caught up. The terminals available with Linux are better than the default terminal with OS X. They are more memory efficient than Console 2. Unity works well. I actually have muscle memory trying to work with OS X as I do Unity.
I will grant that the OS X laptop is light years ahead of my Linux box's battery. Even when the battery was new, the Linux laptop was lucky to get 2.5 hours. The OS X laptop gets 5 hrs or so under my daily load.
Interestingly, the only laptop of the 5 or so I've owned to have a dead pixel is the MBP. Under white backgrounds it's easy to miss. On dark backgrounds I'm annoyed.
I feel your pain. Fortunately you can have Save As back: System Preferences -> Keyboards -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts. Add a shortcut called "Save As..." with Command-Shift-S. Magically, Duplicate is gone.
I'm not an OS X user, but that's a solid observation, that at least partly accounts for the issues, based on my experience of other OS's and software. I've seen the same happen, from the inside, in large companies where I've worked, and also, from the outside, a lot, as a user of various software packages and OS's, that seems to be the case, many times. Of course there are other reasons too.
I was just talking to a non-tech  friend yesterday who was complaining about the OS problems he was having (Ubuntu, in his case), and who said, essentially, that things are too difficult - upgrades screwing things up, etc. etc. My reply to him: the state of the art in software (in general) is still below what it should be - or words to that effect.
 Of course, part of the reason for his problems is that he is not tech-savvy (though he actually is more so than the average layman), but that raises the question of why software in general cannot be more user-friendly and easier to use. Difficult question, I know, since the field is so complex, and compounded by the existence of so many different versions of hardware, operating systems, and applications, all (mis)interacting with each other. Reminds me of my erstwhile system engineer days: customer has a problem (in a specific app situation) with this model of that computer that we sell and support? check the OS version: is it Ver. x.y.z? ah, that's not compatible with BIOS (or motherboard) Ver. a.b.c - only when using that particular RDBMS / compiler / whatever; upgrade the BIOS (or motherboard or OS or problematic software) to Ver. p.q.r ...... :) (which point was sometimes learnt after system / hardware engineers had spent a lot of time trying to solve the problem on their own, before escalating it to head office)
It was good fun and learning, but frustrating too at times, and must have been for some customers too ...
Also, it's easier to "turn features off" in Windows than OSX these days. I'm sad about it though. But after 14 years on Mac I'm done. It was the upgrade to 10.10 that finally pissed me off enough to leave.
By the way, anyone know of a good terminal app for Windows? Not too crazy about Powershell. I have been using Git Bash and that's decent so far.
Reading your expectations and gripes, I'd say try http://bliker.github.io/cmder/ , the goodness of clink bundled with ConEmu and a sexy Monokai theme.
By the way, a great site for finding apps in specific genres is alternativeto.net. Here's a list of alternatives to iTunes:
But I have used it for 10 years and it's the only reason I still have Windows machines in my house. It's that good.
* It has no idea about Windows file system conventions. IIRC, the default install directory is "C:\Cygwin".
* The "default" install is super bare-bones, and missing a lot of pretty basic Unix utils. This would be a minor complaint, except:
* The installer--the bit that you download--is also the package manager. This means that if you install it and then delete the installer like a responsible, space-conserving user, then the first time you realize that you don't have, I dunno, rsync, you have to download the installer again. And then, unless you having to manually navigate to your Downloads folder every time you want to install a damn package, you have to find a place for it to live on your drive and set up a start-menu shortcut for it. These things are why we invented installers, so why doesn't the installer do them?
* And, as you may have guessed from that last bit, there is no way to install packages from within the Cygwin terminal. In fact, you have to close all open terminals every time you want to run the package manager. You can imagine how much fun that is. The excuse for this is "such a program would need full access to all of Cygwin's POSIX functionality. That is, however, difficult to provide in a Cygwin-free environment, such as exists on first installation." In other words, they can't provide a proper package manager because then they couldn't make the installer and the package manager the same program which they shouldn't be fucking doing anyway.
* Every time you run the installer/package manager, you have to click "Okay" seven times (yes, I counted) to confirm a load of options that you will almost certainly never change after first install.
This ran way longer than I intended. Apparently I am fussed. :-/ The thing that really gets me is that this isn't even a case of Unix grognards not knowing or caring about Windows standards. There is no modern OS where installing an application off of the root directory is acceptable. I don't get it.
The package management is indeed a mass. The install.exe should literally install ONLY the barebones system plus some kind of terminal app, like Putty (because CMD is a pain to use), and then open the terminal to continue installation from there.
The installer being the package manager threw me when I first started using Cygwin. However, when I researched the issue, I can see how the choice made sense. Unlike a Linux system, you can't upgrade the Cygwin DLL in-place while it's running.
apt-cyg  is a nice simple bash script for managing Cygwin packages. I find very useful for avoiding the GUI installer when I just need to add or remove a few packages. For software that doesn't require an upgrade of the Cygwin DLL, they can be installed / removed from inside Cygwin itself.
And no, I don't use Cygwin to "escape" Windows. Windows is a perfectly functional GUI for casual daily use. I use Cygwin because it provides useful tools and utilities that aren't available in Windows.
It supports UTF8, 256 colours; copy-pasting is simple and easy. I suppose the only mainstream feature it's lacking is tabs -- but that doesn't bother me.
To be fair, I'm a .NET dev who has to do this in most Windows releases as well. It's a part of the customization of the OS. They don't tailor it to devs, they tailor it to normal users.
Is the RAM still limited to 4GB on these as well? That is what killed the idea of the Pixel for me.
Not exactly "stomping a mudhole" is it?
Battery life is 5-6hrs compared to Apple's "up to 8 hrs" for the MBP 15. That's amazing considering Razer runs a 1344 core GPU. What does a pitiful MacBook Pro have? Integrated graphics. Hahaha. And for the highest end MBP they have? A puny 750m. I'm sure you won't get 8hrs with that one. Compare the two on any graphics benchmark. There's the mudhole I mentioned. 870m is 2x faster than a 750m.
The Razer also delivers a higher res touch screen. The Razer is thinner. It's also black and green which IMO looks much better than those boring silver MBPs.
And heavier than a MBP you say?
Razer wins again. Seems you don't know what you're talking about fanboi. Face it, Razer makes the nicest laptop you can buy anywhere. Period.
Nice job trying to use the specs page for the outdated non-Retina MacBook that nobody buys. Here's the real specs page: https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs-retina/
13" MacBook is 1.57kg, 15" MacBook is 2.02kg. Razer is heaver than both.
And nice job ignoring the processor, RAM, storage, and the overheating, "fanboi".
You've never even seen one, have you? Razer is aluminum too.
>Nice job trying to use the specs page for the outdated non-Retina MacBook
Must be all Apple's gadget spam confusing me. That was the first result returned by Google for "MacBook Pro Specs". If you want to quible over 0.01Kg, then take a look at that 0.01 inches in thickness while you're at it. Oh gosh, that MacBook is just TOO THICK to use!! roll eyes
>And nice job ignoring the processor,
On noes! Apple's newer hardware has an extra 300 Megahertz cpu on the top of the line MBP vs the Razer. I know, Razer can break out the MHz Myth! Yay MHM!
Oh, sorry, I forgot. MHM only applies if Apple has the lower clock speed. I must have stepped out of the Reality Distortion Field for a moment.
LOL. Let's talk about RAM on the iPhone shall we? Oh, RAM isn't an issue on the iPhone because <blah blah blah>. I'll use that same excuse then ;)
Razer available with 512GB of storage. MBP available with 512GB of storage. What's your point again? Oh, I see. You can overpay for 1TB by spending an extra $500 as a BTO option. Good for you. I'm sure you're proud of that.
Ever heard of an external drive? They're pretty neat. You can hold big files on them, but you aren't punished by carrying around all the weight of a bigger main drive all the time. You might want to check into that. They're pretty nifty for the obviously 0.01Kg weight conscious traveler that you are.
>and the overheating
LOL. Glass houses man
At least the Razer team was smart enough to direct heat to a no touch zone above the keyboard. Look at that. The heat is all up in the keyboard on the MBP. What a shame. Your fingers must be cooking as you type your responses.
In the meantime, Apple's still low res. Apple's still lower pixel density. Apple's still missing a touch screen. Apple still has a missing or crippled GPU. In hardware that really counts, Razer comes out on top in a big way. But yeah, you're 10grams lighter on system weight, so you win. lol
Overall, Linux is great these days if you have compatible hardware. A random Windows laptop might be a problem, but a Thinkpad or a System76 or such should all be fine.
One thing I'd like to say when looking at Thinkpads, or other laptops, for running Linux on, don't get one with hybrid graphics. My experience in trying to deal with it was a huge pain.
Maybe my problem was in going for the W-series. The older T-series laptops I've installed and used Linux on were great.
But I guess it was just luck of the draw - YMMV.
I've read (almost exclusively) bad things about the keyboard and overall plastic-ity of them.
Another model got a lot of complaints about the keyboard a year or two ago, and System76 responded by sending everyone a better one for free.
If you don't use Unity and instead use a different environment like KDE, Ubuntu is actually a great system that requires minimal tweaking.
That said, I intentionally purchase hardware that's known to work well with Linux (if you buy a system with all Intel chipsets, you'll probably be fine). Also, the power management is still abysmal. I still have to tinker with powertop to get battery life comparable to other OS's.
That said, for my money you can't beat Mint with Xfce for a quick and easy casual GNU/Linux box. I always skip Xfce's compositor and install Compton for tear-free window dragging and video watching (Nvidia-specific issue I believe), but otherwise the default install is very good.
The thing about Linux is that once you've tinkered, things stay the way you are.
Copy over your home folder to your next distro and just about everything goes back to the way it was. When I wiped xUbuntu 14.04 and installed the 15.04 alpha, I didn't have to do anything to get XFCE back the way I wanted after I copied the contents of my home folder over and gave it a reboot.
This is far, far more friendly than what OSX forces you to go through after each and every update.
Honestly. Fuck Unity and Gnome.
Until they don't – I supported Linux desktop users for years and, even ignoring fun with the occasional kernel/driver update rendering systems unbootable or breaking sound/video, every so often I had to troubleshoot something which turned out to be caused by a backwards-incompatible change. It turns out that Linux developers are just like developers for every other platform and make mistakes or intentional changes for things they no longer wish to support.
> This is far, far more friendly than what OSX forces you to go through after each and every update.
My experience with every release since 10.0.0: install, reboot, go back to work. The thing to remember for every platform is that you hear about complaints from the small percentage of people who encounter something unusual because relatively few people spend months camped out on forums to remind everyone that an update didn't break anything.
Insofar as Cheese == Wi-Fi connection, I couldn't agree more.
This isn't just "WHY IS THIS 10px LEFT TO WHERE IT WAS ARGH THIS SUX0RZ" - really basic things were broken, such as multi-monitor full-screen. Also, multi-core machines actually benefited (performance-wise) from upgrading up until 10.6. Not so after Lion.
It's easy to blame the users for being change-averse, but... was I really meant to stop using 'full-screen'? "Just resize it from that little corner there?"? Please.
I think there's a market for a linux distro that targets a limited set of premium hardware. I'd gladly pay money for an OS that worked out of the box on any MacBook or Surface Pro made in the past two years.
Edit: Many people are replying with brands that work for them. I'm glad they've been lucky enough to avoid problems, but I am making a different point. On Macs, OS X is practically guaranteed to work out of the box. Wifi, bluetooth, trackpad, screen brightness, power management, hardware graphics acceleration, resume from suspend/hibernate, etc Just Works™. On Apple's hardware, users never have to worry about kernel flags or special drivers. The same is not true for any combination of laptop brand and linux distro. I truly wish it were otherwise.
This attitude created the insane expectation that Ubuntu (or whatever) should run on any machine that previously ran Windows. That is a (hopelessly) tall order to fill, especially considering that new versions of Windows itself won't always run on machines that previously ran an older version of Windows.
We, as a community, mistakenly emphasized the sheer number of installs over the quality of those installs and the happiness of their users. The best way to market GNU/Linux, in my opinion, is to show someone a fully compatible, fully working machine that "Just Work[ed]" out of the box and explain, honestly, how it was achieved (by buying the right machine and using a distro known to work with that machine).
I believe that the "we can make any machine work, sort of..." attitude created a lot of crazy expectations, which hurt "switchers" and thus actually hurt the sale of fully compatible machines. Very sad.
I'm with you though. I bought a Mac solely for the battery life and the screen. If I could get a well-built machine, with a screen that didn't look washed out and a battery that consistently lasted more than four hours without weird tricks I would gladly pay Mac prices for it.
- Backlight bugs are usually related to ACPI tables in the BIOS. Doing a BIOS upgrade will often fix them. This is especially true on the Thinkpad line where Lenovo explicitly supports Linux in its BIOS.
- Be careful with switchable graphics. While they have gotten a lot better, especially with open source drivers, they are still a pain (even on Windows). Choose a laptop with an Intel, or AMD APU. Or, barring that, make sure all of the scanouts are connected to the Intel card, like in my Thinkpad W540. The new Macbook Pro Retina 15" is exactly what you want to avoid - it forces all inputs to be connected to the discrete card when you boot Linux.
- Make sure you have a good wifi card. Intel or Atheros is the best.
- Do a bit of research before buying, like on the arch wiki.
- If you buy a bleeding edge laptop chipset, expect to need to use a bleeding edge distro for complete support.
This, a thousand times. While I haven't used Arch for a few years, and probably never will again, they have some of the best and most complete documentation in the GNU/Linux world. Chances are, if there's ever been a Linux-specific issue, some Arch user has run into it and either fixed it themselves or found the answer in the Arch community. Their wiki is quite thorough as well.
Another great source is linuxquestions.org. Half a million members and still growing, and they cover all major distros (though there's a ton of Slackware power users there, which suits me fine).
Interesting - my experience with respect to this is that Apple will "just replace it" if a user complains enough.
Both my MBPs (17" 2009, last 17" made (2012?)) had chronic sleep/resume issues, where they would wake up unprompted, either immediately after going to sleep, or after a while (in my bag, turning it into a furnace), or not resume at all when waking up.
The Genius Bar "replaced a daughterboard, which should fix it", which naturally didn't.
In my quest for a solution, I tried everything and met hundreds of poor souls with this problem, of varying technical aptitude - some far exceeding mine.
Changing the sleep mode, examining logs/dmesg/provided no hints, or relief. I gave up and started shutting it down or hibernating.
I don't miss OS X.
 Not a direct quote, but something equally eye-roll-invoking.
But your anecdote doesn't address my point: Do you think any combination of laptop brand and linux distro would be more likely to have everything work out of the box than Apple hardware running OS X?
By no means! It worked out for the best.
> I think most would agree that such problems are quite rare compared to other OSes.
Macbooks are very popular nowadays, but somewhat less so 5-6 years ago when I was diagnosing this. There were many, many people in my shoes all over the Apple discussions and other forums ("hunderds" from my previous post is almost definitely an underestimation). I'm not sure what percentage of total users this adds up to, but personally I wouldn't call it "rare". You can picture the frustration of paying top dollar for a premium machine/experience, not getting Genius Bar help and trying out any whacky witchcraft-y solution in case it works (reset SMC! PRAM! throw salt behind your back! try the new firmware from today!). Ugh.
> Also, it sounds like you had decent support from Apple. Though they failed, they expended significant effort and money to try and solve the problem.
Not quite. It was I who expended significant effort (take it in/be laptopless for a few days) and money (not under warranty) and to no avail. I don't remember what they said they fixed, but they charged me a little for some hardware part and labour. I didn't repeat the experiment for that issue, but the next time I had to get Apple support, the response was astounding as well. I don't place much faith in the Genius Bar, and it is far from blind Apple-bashing in my case.
> But your anecdote doesn't address my point: Do you think any combination of laptop brand and linux distro would be more likely to have everything work out of the box than Apple hardware running OS X?
Well, yes, but you aren't going to like it. If you want a "brand" recommendation, Thinkpads are still your best bet. I've seen you're hit by that brightness bug, and that really does suck, but... "such problems are quite rare compared to the average Linux on Thinkpad experience" :/ I got a refurb X220 from ebay and put 14.04 on it - everything worked, down to the fingerprint reader. Go for a specific model rather than a brand, as "Our Milages Do Vary" even within brands.
As for the out-of-the-box experience, for my personal use case (hacker/developer) I don't value it that much. I'd much rather tweak a bit, but then have a system that "won't betray me", than have something that works 90% of the way I'd want it to, out of the box, and occasionally crash and fail me in mysterious undiagnosable ways. OS X wasn't even at 90% for me - "Always on Top" available out of the box nowadays? I had Afloat for this (and transparencies) in 10.6, but it didn't work for 10.7+
For the out-of-the-box experience in a casual user's use case, I have another anecdote for you - my distinctly non-technical mother. After seemingly making a hobby out of infecting her Windows XP/Vista over the years, I had this crazy idea to try Linux Mint on her crapware HP 17" laptop. I won't lie to you, I did hold my breath a bit while installing, hoping that I'll manage to sort out the inevitable issues, and I was surprised to find no issues at all. Everything worked out of the box and she's still using it, over a year later, with no complaints or need for technical support from me. She's a casual user - browsing, email, flash game or two - and she didn't really need Windows that much after all.
Finally, just like OS X works well with specific hardware, Linux is sort-of the same. If all vendors bothered with Linux support, the situation would be different and you'd have much greater chances of "Just Works" - but alas, that isn't so. If you can pick your laptop to be compatible, you won't have issues 99% of the time. Occasionally, vendors lie/exaggerate about the extent of Linux support (grep for "XPS 13" for my rant elsewhere on this thread about Dell), so always double-check on wikis/forums/issue trackers (Arch wiki is a goldmine, even if you go with another distro). It sucks a little, that you have to go by specific model, but not that much, really.
Right now I'd pick a T or X series Thinkpad, with Ubuntu base for power users (and a strong recommendation to research other window managers) or Mint 17 base for average users.
 My second, and final data point with the Genius Bar (UK/Oxford Str - in case it matters): Took in my girlfriend's Macbook, under warranty, for some obvious hardware issues (disk not detected intermittently? instability issues? I can't recall exactly but it screamed hardware). I know this sounds like I'm making it up, but initially they told me that the issue was limited free disk space (5G/500G) and only accepted to take a deeper look at it after some stern comments from yours truly. I kid you not: not enough free disk space. Anyway, the motherboard was faulty and was replaced. And - miracle of miracles! - it worked even with the measly 5G free disk space >:[
1. I don't see the problem.
2. Oh, I see, that's a feature!
3. Hmm, not a feature you say, then it must be those pesky 3rd party apps you are using.
4. Ok, ok, it's a clean install, have you done all the upgrades?
5. You have? I see, well we will probably fix it in the next driver/software update, wouldn't you like to just wait?
6. You wouldn't???? Ok, fine, I guess it might be a hardware issue, but it's probably not covered under warranty, because they all do it.
7. Ok, I guess it's just your device, but are you sure you have warranty?
8. Ok, fine, will fix it, but just this once!
Apple is no more a pain in the ass than any of the other major manufacturers. At least they have an Apple Store in most markets, so you can go and bitch at someone in person, rather than engaging in a futile argument with a bangladeshi call center operator. At least with Apple you have an option to choke to death the person who is "assisting" you, when you eventually snap, instead of just threatening to do so :) Ok, I am not sure if that last bit is a plus.
That being said, I do agree that Genius Bar people are mostly idiots, and are trained to avoid fixing your problem, if at all possible. But honestly, can't you say the same about all of the other companies.
My point was in response to "you received decent support from Apple", which has never been my case.
Everything worked out of the box. 100%.
In particular, though, there's an ancient piece of conventional wisdom that always floats around that's very pro-nvidia+linux, but I think it's terribly outdated. AMD and nVidia compatibility with linux are both quite bad and both the OSS and proprietary drivers create a lot of problems for both. You're better off just using Intel straight through, their OSS drivers are plenty good for dev work and quite stable in my experience.
It is a bit out of my range, but it's nice to know Dell is offering a quality non-Windows machine.
I could pick my own hardware for work, and I went with an XPS 13 9333 "Ubuntu edition" + superspeed dock for over 1300 GBP ($2K USD). I shouldn't have sponged on the extra hundred or so bucks for the X1 Carbon (..."startup"...), but the "Linux readiness" sucked me in. I don't exactly feel like I got my money's worth:
- "Coil Whine". My expectations from a $2K SSD laptop is complete fucking silence unless the fans are going. There is still some serious coil whine happening when some arbitrary conditions are met - If you often work in a quiet environment (any AM workers here?), you will notice this eventually. This also changes pitch when <things>, so you won't be tuning it out. This was noted as fixed by Dell for the 9333, when in fact it hasn't been. Not exclusively a Linux issue, but unacceptable in a $2K machine.
- Driver support: wifi: Identity crisis. The stock wifi drivers don't quite register as wifi drivers, but at least NetworkManager still kinda works. "Huh?"
wlan0 no wireless extensions.
- Driver support: wifi: instability. I got very frequent wifi disconnects/hiccups/delays on both the 2.4G and the 5G bands, when other hardware on the same location worked just fine (my Mac co-workers liked to pick on me for this, but hey, I would too in their shoes). By "delays", I'm not nit-picking milliseconds, I mean getting 2000ms+ pingbacks from the AP when a macbook placed right on top of it (for science) got the expected 20-70ms. Huh.
- Driver support: Touchscreen: forget about it. Kind of entirely broken. After using the touch screen, moving the mouse (or trackpad) again will "jump" the cursor position to around 2x, 2y of where you left the touchscreen pointer. This was so annoying when I had a bottom-right "hot corner" kind of thing on Ubuntu (Mac convert here, forgive me) that I disabled the touchscreen entirely with xinput (any accidental touches would subsequently trigger "expose" mode). Also, if you attach a second monitor, the touchscreen input is mapped to the entire virtual desktop, rather than the laptop screen alone. As a consequence, under such circumstances, the touchscreen would only work correctly for taps at 0,0. Huh.
- Superspeed Dock: forget about it entirely, you'll regret buying one for Linux. First of all, not actually a dock, but a port replicator. Nevermind that, that's me being pedantic. Secondly, $180. Nevermind that, that's me being cheap. Thirdly, it doesn't work: Ethernet won't work, audio/mic won't work, HDMI won't work, DVI won't work. Very disappointing, I was looking forward to a triple screen setup. Oh well. Counterpoint: Well, Dell says it won't work, so what did you expect? Dell should put some more intelligence into its "also recommended for you" part of the website. Even if I had seen it, I would have expected some kind of hackaround to be possible. I search far and wide - no dice for the stuff that I cared for (screens/audio). It seems to be related to DisplayLink, which simply dropped Linux Support for its 3xxx/4xxx series. Nice.
Apologies for abusing your vertical screen real-estate, but I've been holding back this rant for well over a year now, and "it's your fault for triggering it" (I kid). But seriously, Dell's "Linux ready $2K wonder" would get them sued if they pulled the same crap for Windows. But it's Linux, so who gives a shit, right?
 Bought a refurbished X220 from ebay for 1/5 the price of the XPS 13 - installed Ubuntu - everything worked from the get-go. Even the fingerprint reader. I've read similar experiences for the vast majority of Thinkpads, since the IBM days, through the Lenovo days. Highly recommended for Linux, though YMMV.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwR4CWzDtfQ Mine isn't quite as bad (or the recording volume is deceptively high on this video), but still very noticable after a while. Also, not deterministically reproducible (my favourite kind of bug). And no, I am not confused about what a fan sounds like. Fans don't change pitch when you hit the built-in keyboard, or scroll on Chromium, or fart in its direction. The pitch change is what makes it stand out from "background noise", so you won't be able to tune it out if you're one of the lucky ones. At a point of high frustration (with another unrelated bug) I literally shouted "shut your fucking face" at my laptop, waking up my girlfriend in the next room :/
 http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/... "We fix coil whine - the fix is: buy 9333s!" - Blatant lie.
 Personally, I don't really care about the touchscreen - there simply wasn't an option for the i7 CPU without one, so... "whatever". Still completely broken drivers, though.
 And the XPS13 doesn't have an ethernet port either, so you rely on the (not so reliable wifi) entirely for networking, if you need such advanced features. I found some hack to make it work, but I forget which exactly. (Document! Idiot.).
My laptop is noticeably whiny a large chunk of the time. Seems to predominantly occur when scrolling image-heavy webpages, or graphics demos with no framerate limiters, but happens other times as well.
The "fix" is to disable low power CPU states. Yeah, you cut battery life, but at least it doesn't bore into your brain. I'd also suggest if you have onsite warranty to keep asking for replacements. Until laptop reviewers grow spines, it's probably the only way to get an issued noticed.
Edit: If you want to see if that'll help, just get a program to run at full CPU and see if the sound goes away. On several ThinkPads I noticed this (scrolling activates CPU), then saw people mentioning the CPU suspend states. Bingo.
For some people it triggers only when a secondary monitor is attached (that's me, usually - right now I don't think it is on, but then again the fans are going so they may be covering it).
For others, it immediately goes away if you switch off the backlight (didn't work for me).
I don't recall if someone has mentioned this in the XPS coil whine bughunt, but I'll give it a go the next time my laptop starts whining. Thanks!
If you are looking for a locked-down consumer appliance of a computer then linux really isn't for you.
That's really the most extraordinary part of the whole movement. 20 years into it it's become mainstream on phones, set top boxes, and embedded devices everywhere but it hasn't also necessarily become some washed down, stupefied, lowest-common-denominator black box that is impenetrable to look at where you rely on the whims of some private company to fix issues that you are unable to communicate to them.
It's still grass-roots and community driven at its core. It hasn't sold out. Anyone is still just a bit a time and hard work away from making a difference - that's pretty powerful.
But I write code for a living and I really can't justify ever having my laptop out of commission because of hardware/OS issues.
"Hey, boss. I'm not going to have my work done today because I installed an $DISTRO update and now my laptop is having driver issues."
OSX makes this particularly easy, though: you clone an OSX install with Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to an external drive. (I have this scheduled to run nightly) You can then boot another Mac from that external drive.
The result is that you don't have to maintain two separate OSX installs. You can borrow somebody else's Mac, boot from your external drive, and boom - your data and your entire working environment are ready to go.
Of course you could also accomplish this with other operating systems. If your main work environment is a virtual machine, it's pretty trivial.
That said, I can't imagine too many developers or IT professionals who only have one working computer at their disposal. I am typing this on my Windows 7/Slackware main workstation, with an old laptop running OpenBSD to my left and an old tower running NetBSD to my right. I can jump on either of those two and get back to work in a few minutes if this one goes down.
Just like the automobile enthusiast who always disassembles parts of their car and replaces components - although their cars probably break down more often these people are enraptured in the art of auto mechanics. What would be our expensive nightmare is to them, hours of enjoyable pastime.
"If you are looking for a locked-down consumer appliance of a computer then linux really isn't for you." LOL, I was going to say, what about chromeOS? That's a locked down distro based on linux. Luckily it is very easy to install a linux distro on it, as I have. You can have the best of both worlds, a locked down simple to use computer, and a tweak to your heart's delight linux distro.
As other have pointed out System 76 targets Linux. I've got an old Dell that shipped with Ubuntu, still works great. Someone else mentioned their new series for Ubuntu, search on the Dell site.
Technically, and conceptually, I think a better observation to make would be that there is a market for premium hardware that works well with linux. Thinkpads used to occupy this niche, but no longer.
I would highly recommend Elementary to jaded OS X users in particular, along with anyone else with an inclination to use Linux. I regularly and happily use all major OSs for coding, design and other super serious stuff, and this is my favorite Linux distro by far.
It looks nice.
And has no window menu whatsoever in any application at all, despite having plenty of space for that.
You video player has detected the wrong ratio for the video you want to see?
Bad luck, elementary will not let you change it.
I still sometimes have to use Windows for work and resume/hibernate works about half the time. The other half I have to power reset it. That's with HP, Dell and Lennovo running Windows 7.
I'm guessing here but I bet the picture for sleep/hibernate ain't all rosy for Macs either.
> the picture for sleep/hibernate ain't all rosy for Macs either.
It's one of those things that has worked well for a long time. I remember on an old Powerbook G4, putting OSX to sleep while it was in the middle of the shutdown process only to wake it later to be welcomed by the shutdown process finishing and powering off.
[Not that OSX didn't have huge warts in those days. SambaFS/CIFS filesystem driver didn't deal well with the server going away for whatever reason. Reads/writes would block forever (because the driver didn't decide to time-out) and anything that attempted to touch it (even Finder) would immediately get sucked in to endlessly waiting.]
Just get supported hw, and you will be fine, applies to all operating systems.
I believe the same is true of OS X, which only works reliably on something like 12% of laptops sold.
The single biggest problem with Cygwin is performance: forking is very slow. When I need to rewrite a script for Cygwin, it's almost invariably to reduce the number of processes spawned.
But almost all of the time, it just works, even building third-party stuff from source. On my home setup, I spend about half my terminal time with Cygwin, the other half in ssh sessions to Linux boxes, and there's no real mental context switch required.
Like I said, it's a gamble. Sometimes the hardware and drivers and phase of the moon is right and everything works. Sometimes no amount of kernel flags and customized modules will fix it. I (along with many others) am willing to pay to not have to worry about potential problems.
1. I ranted a little about it near the end of a recent blog post: http://geoff.greer.fm/2015/01/03/ten-years-of-progress-in-la...
In the case of ThinkPads, you have three interfaces to control backlight brightness: acpi_video0 (standard ACPI interface), intel_backlight (GPU interface), and thinkpad_acpi (vendor specific interface) all with different semantics conforming to ACPI standard, Windows 7 behaviors, Windows 8 behaviors, and vendor private behaviors, and you have user interfaces including BIOS wired special keys, sysfs, udev, X utils, GPU control panels, and desktop environment settings to control the brightness. You have these moving parts for just one vendor and the kernel needs to coordinate all the madness with all the vendors. And the fixes coming out in latest version kernel might not even make it to your version of distros.
So there is a lot of complexity in the even seemingly trivial screen brightness control. Linux still has much to do with the support of heterogeneous hardware. But this is the price you pay for the freedom.
I use a Carbon X1 and have had no issue. Before I've been through other X's and a W.
That fixed the only issue I had which was with the 1 Gig ethernet. Now I'm on stock 14 and of course it has all the newer drivers already.
... unless you think ahead and only buy (and recommend) Thinkpads.
Edit: wanted to clarify that this C720 is my current personal portable. My other is a custom built desktop also running Ubuntu.
Well, that does kinda destroy the convenience of apt.
I'm running Ubuntu and a set of kernel modules I can link later but they are the very same that were then altered for Arch ( which I also tried but had some problems with ). These have carried me from 13.04-14.04 and I'm hoping the 3.17 kernel will be included soon because these components are built right into that kernel version AFAIK.
1.) Laptop hardware/construction that rivals Apples. I hate plastic. I hate it.
2.) A usable trackpad. Apple has by far the most usable trackpad and it works well. Windows/Linux laptops force me to bring a mouse because the trackpads/drivers are essentially crap by comparison.
3.) Hassle-free wireless and graphics card drivers. Linux I'm staring you in the eye poking you in the kidney. This isn't always a crapshoot, but boy howdy can it be.
4.) An supported upgrade path. Too many "PC" manufacturers put their hardware out to pasture the day it's released. No updates. No support.
Windows is largely unusable for me for development work. Babun or cygwin make things better but I hate having this fucked off environments disconnected from the core of the operating system. It's like working/developing in a vagrant box without wanting to...
Linux is damn close but without a good hardware vendor it's a no go. I could buy a Mac and install Linux on it, but what's the point? Might as well just use OS X... and here we are.
 I want to emphasize the "for me" part. I'm not trying to say you can't enjoy it, or that it's across the board "shitty" by any means. I gladly recognize for some folks-- it's wonderful.
Oh and the Thinkpad keyboard kicks the Macbook's butt.
And keyboard preference is just that, preference. I personally like my Macbook Pro's keyboard to my Thinkpad's. Weird how opinions work. But maybe this guy would actually like the Thinkpad's keyboard...he should go try one out. Do Best Buy's carry them? Are Best Buy's still around?
I really want to emphasize I'm talking about my preference. I don't want to anyway say that the Thinkpad isn't great for some folks.
With that said...
I personally just don't like Thinkpad keyboards at all.
A MacBook Pro (MBP) keyboard for me is much nicer to type on, but it's also completely inferior to a mechanical keyboard (again, for me).
I've looked (online) at some from HP (envy?) and they seemed alright but were often underpowered for my tastes. I really like that I can get a high power i7 in a MBP. Cheap? No. Fast? Yes. I'm okay with paying that premium.
I haven't tried the Lenovo Thinkpads; so, I am admittedly behind the times.
One change to MBPs that I loathe is not being able to upgrade my ram or SSD. I'd be fine if it was a weird format/connector/size, as a result of the form factor, but having them soldered on is a step too far.
I also very much miss my matte screen. Matte "stickers" (?) suck and just look shitty.
It made Alan Kay part with Mac. The downside is their price, otherwise they are superior to Apple's Mac Books.
Then again, I use a MacBook Air, which doesn't usually seem to be the Mac of choice for people on here, so... shrug
Sometimes the mouse still moves, but nothing else. About 50% of these cases I need to reboot the laptop. I used to reboot my Mac once a month or less. Now it's daily.
I want to downgrade OSX from 10.10 to 10.8, two versions back, because I read somewhere that it's the fastest of them.
In the last 2-3 years, Apple only added self-serving cloud shit and tried to make everything more like iOS, but the fucking Finder columns still don't auto-resize to the length required to read the filenames without "...." in the middle.
So now every time I turn on my MBA 2011, FileVault kicks into high gear and drains the battery in under an hour, rendering the machine unusable unless it's plugged in. The only solution seems to be to reformat the machine. Yeah right, like I have the time for that.
This is just another in the weekly 5 minutes of hate on Apple that Hipster News loves to perpetuate.
Put two minutes into understanding this and then come back and tell me I'm a hipster douchebag because I needed my damned second screen.
 OSX lion 10.7 full screen apps disables second monitor. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3204004 (and hundreds, if not thousands, of duplicate threads for 10.7 and 10.8)
So, the solution is actually: Just move and resize your windows with the mouse, like normal people.